The War Z announced: zombie survival shooter-MMO with strong parallels to Day Z
Jul 19, 2012
Page 1 of 10
Well, that didn't take long. Someone's announced a persistent survival shooter-MMO set in a zombie apocalypse. It has permadeath (as an optional “Hardcore Mode”). It has PvP and PvZ folded into the same experience. It has a hunger mechanic. It has a dude in a baseball cap.
The War Z
is undeniably inspired by
, one of the best things to happen on the PC this year. But before you load your cynicism guns with copycat bullets, I wonder: is that really a bad thing?
The War Z describes itself as a “Survival Horror MMO that immerses players in a zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic world in which a viral outbreak has decimated the human population leaving, in its wake, a nightmare of epic proportion.” It'll be available unbelievably soon: Fall 2012 for $30 (coincidentally, the same price of
Arma 2: Combined Operations
), and it won't carry a subscription fee.
The game's being developed by Hammerpoint Interactive, a new developer. According to Sergey Titov, Executive Producer, they began development last fall. "The major difference is that DayZ is a fantastic mod for a hardcore military simulation game," Hammerpoint Interactive Senior Game Designer Eric Nordin says in an interview with
about the game. "We are creating a standalone game, with the entire world designed around a zombie apocalypse, so that players feel completely immersed in that environment.
Here's a breakdown of features, taken verbatim from the press release:
Big open worlds to explore between 200 to 400 square kilometers
Two modes of play: Normal and Hardcore
Combination of first-person and third-person perspectives
Meld of PvE (player versus environment) and PvP (player versus player)
Strong Role Playing Elements
Multiple playable characters with customizable features
Unique social elements, including bounties, help requests, trap setting, etc.
Safe settlements where players can purchase, sell and store items as well as post notes for other players
Dozens of unique skills that can be learned and improved
Up to 250 players per game server
New weapons and items become available as players explore the game world
Full developer support with regularly scheduled, free content updates
Dedicated public servers as well as private servers that can be completely self-managed in game client
Single purchase, downloadable client with ability to play full game without subscriptions or requiring in-game transactions
From this, I think it's fair to speculate that The War Z won't share Day Z's emphasis on realism and experimentation. Some of its systems seem more in-line with what we'd expect from conventional RPGs or MMOs: a skill system, customizable characters, item selling, and bounty-setting, which I actually love the idea of (my death to Pokerguy33 in Day Z still goes unavenged). Promising larger player capacity than Day Z (although this is something the mod's creator, Dean “Rocket” Hall, continues to pursue) is also something of a surprise, especially if The War Z will be able to accommodate all of those players in a single instance.
What's totally unclear is what kind of shooter The War Z could be. The release makes no mention of real-life ballistics modeling or what form its combat mechanics will take, leaving me to imagine it might strive for accessibility.
Anyway, I know it's natural to express cynicism about developers pinching ideas—or whole concepts—from one another. And I'm in no way defending the breathtaking absence of originality put forth here, but I'm also not sure if copycatting is some inherent sin that we should condemn. To some extent, this is how genres are formed, and variations on Day Z's wildly-successful concept were inevitable. We're not living in an imaginary dimension where only one version of a thing can exist. The War Z will have a lot to live up to -- Arma carries a lot of inherent traits that lend itself to survival simulation, and not all of them are easily reproducible.
Registration for The War Z's closed beta, beginning later this summer, is open on the
The War Z website
. (Man, that's awkward to write. “The The War Z?” Yikes.)
PC Gamer is the global authority on PC games. For more than 20 years we have delivered unrivalled coverage, in print and online, of every aspect of PC gaming. Our team of experts brings you trusted reviews, component testing, strange new mods, under-the-radar indie projects and breaking news around-the-clock. From all over the world we report on the stuff that you’ll find most interesting, and gives your PC gaming experience the biggest boost.